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For the first time ever, parade-goers at this year’s San Francisco Pride will see the addition of SF State’s Gator Pride float.

At the parade, the float will follow a step team led by the SF State Cheer Team. The University’s contingent, which includes students, community members, alumni and SF State President Leslie E. Wong will march alongside or atop the float June 29.

Student Life, a division of the Dean of Students Office, will soon begin advertising SF State’s Pride Parade float. So far they have gathered a flat bed trailer, several sponsors and nearly $4,000 in donations.

The theme of this year’s parade will be “Color Our World With Pride.” At SF State, staff say this could translate to “Gator pride,” and so parade-goers should not be surprised if they see a rainbow Gator marching this year.

“I think SF State wanted to be part of this great city-wide event showcasing the gay community,” said Pam Su, the director of campus recreation. “We are showing support for the LGBT community, and the city itself.”

Su, who is leading the group’s planning committee, said that students hoped for a float at last year’s parade, but starting planning too late. This is the third year the University has participated in the parade.

The Alumni Association is also helping out again this year, trying to rally support and cover some of the costs. Student Life will soon circulate an online sign-up form, and in the coming weeks, the University will begin contacting the people on the form to ask their help in constructing the float.

“I’m hoping that we will get a great turnout this year without having to turn anyone away,” said Ryan Jones, Alumni Programs Coordinator, noting that because there is a limit to how many people can participate in a contingent some are inevitably turned away.

The earliest start date for construction is likely to be after this year’s commencement ceremony, but possibly as early as the week before finals.

Plans are to build removable screens or pieces here on campus and then attach them to the float the day of the event once the trailer has been moved down to Market Street.

“The float is the big addition,” said Su. “We’re also going be handing out Mardi Gras bead-type necklaces.”

There will also be T-shirts, a DJ and free lunch for participants sponsored by Chartwells, who will be donating food.

Government Relations played a big part in helping the University register with Pride in past years. Jared Giarrusso, Associate Director of Community Relations said that about 70 students participated in the parade last year, and they hope to grow that number this year.

“We’re really excited to have a larger presence in the parade this year,” Giarrusso said. “I’m hoping at the very least that we’re able to hit that number again.”

Su says anyone who wants to help build the float is welcome to participate.

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David Mariuz

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